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Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?

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In the past, abolition efforts have faced a backlash—but Gavin Newsom’s moratorium may be different.
The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

Yemen: man executed by firing squad for rape, murder of girl, 4

July 5, 2010: A Yemeni man was executed by firing squad in prison after being convicted of raping a four-year-old girl and killing her, the victim's father said.

Akram al-Samawi was executed in the presence of the family of the victim, Nassiba al-Aghwani, and his own family, Nader al-Aghwani told AFP. Journalists and the public were kept outside the prison in Taiz, south of Sanaa.

The 32-year-old unemployed man was convicted in November for the rape of his neighbour's daughter on the roof of his family home last August, after which he smashed her head and threw her corpse off the roof. Samawi was also ordered to pay 300,000 riyals (about R10 000) in fines and court costs.

Aghwani protested outside the prison, saying the execution should have taken place in public, as in previous executions in Yemen.

He also told AFP he rejected an offer from Samawi's family to pay up to 15 million riyals in blood money in return for sparing his life, in line with the Islamic sharia laws on which Yemen's penal code is based.

Source: Sapa-AFP, July 5, 2010

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